Review: Grunge and Others

I’ll be back around again later with another review, but so far this morning has been spent with my newly-minted 16 year-old daughter in the kitchen making her birthday cake. From scratch. Why, yes, she is awesome, and I’m very proud of her.

Over the weekend I was sick, so I read books. I made it all the way through three of them, and I’ll do mini-reviews of two, and a longer one of the book I really enjoyed.

CongoI picked up Congo: History of a People by David van Reybrouck because it was only $1.99, and because I’ve been reading about Africa as I’m getting ready to set a book there (the story of Dierdre and Spot, in what will be the third book set in the Children of Myth universe). I found it a fascinating and compelling read, and since my normal mode is to binge-read complete fluff novels when ill, that should tell you something about the readability of this book. The reliability, on the other hand… It was not quite as anti-colonial as I had expected, although there is a strong bias against free trade I found interesting. And a fixation on musicians that finally made sense at the end of the book when I was reading the author’s bio and saw that he is involved more in art and playwriting than writing history. Altogether, I would recommend it with the note to keep your eyes open for bias. The author’s decision to rely more on oral accounts than documents makes for a compelling read, but perhaps not a reliable one.

gentleman joleI finally got up the nerve to read Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. It’s taken me a long time, I know, but I was still raw from the death of Aral at the end of Cryoburn, and I just couldn’t bring myself to pick at that mental scab. Yes, this is a testimony to the characters Lois McMaster Bujold creates. They are living, breathing people who delight me, and the death of one broke my heart a little. This book did, too, but not quite in the same way. Yes, it made me cry, and laugh, and I did finish it. But the magic that I’ve enjoyed so much in her other works was missing. The plot was plodding, predictable, and lacked any tension or, really, action. The characters were there, and it was worth the read for them. But the setting was disappointing, and I came away thinking that I hope she doesn’t write any more Vorkosigan books.

GrungeThe final book I finished (did I mention Congo is a beast of a book? 657 pages and a 17 hour estimated read time according to my Kindle app. Pretty sure it didn’t take me that long, there was a lot of sleeping in there too) was the much-anticipated Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge by both John Ringo and Larry Correia. What can I say? If you like Correia’s Monster Hunter series, and you enjoy John Ringo’s work, just go buy this. You won’t be disappointed.

For anyone else, this is a superbly-done action flick, er, book, that happens to have monsters in it. I really enjoyed it, can you guess? And not just because I like the authors. The main character is well-drawn, although it is funnier to know that the reason a playboy never kisses and tells is because one author’s kids read his work. The monsters are great, well-researched and satisfyingly villainous. The in-jokes are not so far in that they are inaccessible to the average reader, and some of them made me giggle a lot.

I’d say more, but the girls really want me to get ready to take them to the movie. We’ll review Suicide Squad for you all when we get back!


2 responses to “Review: Grunge and Others”

  1. Reality Observer Avatar
    Reality Observer

    Awesome young lady, yes. Happy birthday to her!

    Baking in the middle of August, though… Sigh. At least this mugginess should be done with by the time my family’s birthday cycle starts up again (end of September through end of May – the good times weather down here).

    1. We got up early this morning so we could bake while it was still cool. I have a July and an August baby, so hot birthdays are just part of the deal 🙂